Cockrum Conquers Friday Night Fury

Shane Cockrum in victory lane Friday night at Gas City I-69 Speedway. (Gary Gasper Photo)
Shane Cockrum in victory lane Friday night at Gas City I-69 Speedway. (Gary Gasper Photo)

GAS CITY, Ind. — Shane Cockrum won a torrid, non-stop, 25-lap non-winged sprint car feature Friday night at Gas City I-69 Speedway that lived up to its billing as Friday Night Fury.

Brad Strunk captured the 20-lap American Mini Sprint Ass’n feature after winning a similar main event on opening night in May.

Derek Losh won the 20-lap United Midwestern Promoters (UMP) modified feature for his sixth such victory this season at Gas City.

James Headley took a crack at the street stock division and won that 15-lap feature by inches in another barnburner.

His son, James Headley Jr., closed the evening with his sixth 15-lap hornet feature victory of the year at the Grant County quarter-mile dirt oval during the five-division program that attracted 100 races cars, including 33 410 sprints, but was still completed by 11:14 p.m.

Polesitter Dustin Ingle led the first seven laps of the sprint car feature before Cockrum got by on the backstretch in Jamie and Michelle Paul’s High Asspirations Farms DRC No. 24P.

Point leader Thomas Meseraull, who was going for his eighth sprint car feature victory of the year here, got under Cockrum in turn four to take the lead working lap 17. The pair made contact in turn two on the next lap, and Cockrum regained the lead on lap 19.

Lap 21 was amazing, as second and third place changed hands at least twice with sliders between Meseraull and Scotty Weir before Weir got second on lap 22.

Meseraull faded to sixth on the last lap, reportedly due to the earlier contact. He displayed his displeasure to Cockrum afterwards, and his car had to be towed from the backstretch after the race.

Cockrum was 2.256 seconds ahead of Weir at the checkered after the 25-lap contest that took only 14:13 to complete. The lack of yellows was amazing, as the leaders had several close calls due to lapped traffic.

Ingle ended up third. Dallas Hewitt, who started tenth, came home fourth and Matt Westfall rounded out the top five.

Ryan Moran led the first 12 laps of the 20-lap AMSA mini-sprint feature before Strunk dug under him in turn two for the lead in his No. 23S, which is sponsored by Parsons Construction Group and NRL Mortgage. Jac Nickles, who won two AMSA mini-sprint features at Gas City in June and July, was right on the tail of runner-up Moran’s car at the checkered. Chris Miller finished fourth and Adam Schmenk placed fifth.

Losh started on the pole of the 20-car/20-lap modified feature and led the whole way in his Superior Sales and Service No. 21. Zeke McKenzie placed second when he took the checkered 5.467 seconds after Losh did. Defending track champion Dillon Nusbaum finished third. Dylan Woodling used the high groove to finish fourth and Tony Anderson placed fifth.

Lapped traffic in turn two played a role in determining the outcome of the 15-lap street stock feature, which was settled by inches at the line.

Polesitter Tony Anderson led the first lap before Andy Bishop got the lead using the outside groove in turn four. After two yellows for spins, Headley passed Anderson for second by slipping under him in Turn 4 working lap six. Using the low groove, Hedley passed Bishop for the lead on lap 10 only for Bishop to regain it on the following lap.

The pair continued to duke it out the rest of the way and lapped traffic again played a role. They banged wheels on the white-flag lap when Headley took the lead in the HP Auto No. 78. They took the checkered side by side, with Headley getting the victory over Bishop by mere inches.

Anderson finished third followed by Jeffery Jessup. Dalton Bishop finished fifth.

Headley Jr. started on the pole of the hornet feature and led the whole way in the family’s No. 00 sponsored by Dudding’s Heating and Cooling, Garriott Electric, Edwards Automotive and TJR Trucking.

His father started second and ran in that position for the first nine laps. At that point Brad Evans had mechanical difficulties and stopped in turn four, and Headley had to take evasive action through the infield to miss him. After that maneuver Headley’s right-rear tire started to go flat, most likely due to the incident, and he headed for the pits before the race restarted with nine laps down. Jacob Beard took over second due to Headley’s exit and he went on to finish in the runner-up position.

The best battle near the end of the race was for third, which eventually went to Allison Butler over Dustin Franks and Donnie Huddleston.